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How can states provide high-quality special education program data?

Helping states improve IDEA data quality

The Office of Special Education Programs’ approach to state accountability emphasizes data-based improvement planning for systemic change. With this results-driven accountability model, states need more support than ever to provide high-quality data. The overarching goal of the accountability model is to ensure that states provide equitable treatment to children with disabilities and that they receive the free, appropriate public education required by law.

Westat is operating a comprehensive technical assistance center focusing on data requirements under Sections 616 and 618 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), specifically requirements for state and local programs serving children and youth ages 3 through 21 (Part B).

Westat will

  • Provide a full range of state and local technical assistance—universal and individualized—to build capacity related to collecting, reporting, analyzing, and using high-quality IDEA data
  • Use a state liaison model to develop a comprehensive understanding of each state’s data quality needs and challenges and to provide effective technical assistance
  • Develop resources and tools to increase the knowledge base and assist states and school districts to implement rigorous data validation practices and procedures
  • Support states in identifying and addressing racial and ethnic disproportionality with regards to identification of children with disabilities, placement in particular educational settings, and disciplinary actions
  • Maintain an innovative and interactive website that allows for knowledge sharing and communicating about high-quality data; learn more about the IDEA Data Center
  • Communicate to the field about high-quality data through webinars and presentations at national, regional, and state conferences and meetings

States and local school districts and programs will

  • Improve their capacity to collect, report, analyze, and use high-quality IDEA data
  • Increase their analysis and use of data for improvement planning

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